UNK jumps to No. 6 on annual ‘Best Colleges’ list – its highest ranking ever

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney continues to climb U.S. News and World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” lists, reaching its highest ranking ever.

UNK is No. 6 on the publication’s list of the top public regional universities in the Midwest, up three spots from last year.

This is the 13th straight year UNK has been recognized as a top public regional university in the Midwest, and the sixth time the school has been ranked inside the Top 10. No other Nebraska school cracked the Top 25 on this year’s list, which was released Monday.

Doug Kristensen
Doug Kristensen

US News Best Colleges“The magazine’s rankings have come to be observed and respected as a comprehensive evaluation of quality. The placement at sixth among regional public universities is the highest achieved by this institution, and is cause for celebration and reflection on the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s competitive advantage,” said Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “More importantly, that measurement helps validate what UNK faculty, staff and students have been telling others: that real quality and affordability are indeed the UNK experience.”

Among all Midwest regional universities – both public and private – UNK improved its position from 46th to 33rd, ranking ahead of institutions such as Wayne State College, Chadron State College, Peru State College, Bellevue University, Concordia University, Midland University, Northwest Missouri State University, Fort Hays State University, Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, Missouri Western State University and University of Central Missouri.

Kristensen said the peer comparisons provide an opportunity to demonstrate performance among similar colleges and universities.

UNK was also listed as a “best value school,” ranking 11th among Midwest regional universities. That lists looks at total cost minus grants, and the percentage of students receiving need-based grants. UNK’s average annual cost after grants was $20,011 in 2019, according to the assessment.

In the “best colleges for veterans” category, UNK ranked 24th among Midwest regional universities, with a veteran/military enrollment of 113 students for the evaluation period.

U.S. News and World Report assessed more than 1,400 bachelor’s degree-granting institutions on 17 measures of academic quality to create its “Best Colleges” lists. These measures include graduation and retention rates, social mobility, graduate indebtedness, class sizes, faculty information, financial resources, student excellence and alumni support. Twenty percent of a school’s ranking is based on academic reputation, determined by an assessment from top academic administrators at peer institutions.

Read U.S. News and World Report’s Overview of UNK